Friday, December 14, 2012

Halcyon Days

Every year I strive to clear the decks so I may fully benefit from the Halcyon Days of peace and tranquility. It is a 2 week period with the Solstice at the midpoint. When I stop my running around and experience peace within and with others, I arrive at the true meaning of the Holiday Season.
©O'Brien, Each Day in the Year of the Fire Dog #320, front and back
The secret is, be brave to experience the deepening darkness so we can perceive the great return of the light.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Today's date is the last one of the century that has all three numbers the same. It is one of my favorite celebratory days of the season, for Our Lady of Guadalupe. The miraculous appearance of roses in December is such a hopeful image.

©O'Brien, Each Day in the Year of the Fire Dog # 318 front and back

Monday, December 10, 2012

Good Tidings

Starting on December 6, St Nicholas Day, there are so many reasons to celebrate this special season. For one thing, today is the birthday of Thomas Merton, who lived nearby at Abbey of Gethsemani. This prayer of his has been a helpful reflection.
©O'Brien, Each Day in the Year of the Fire Dog, #316, front and back
It is also Emily Dickenson's Birthday. This year the Geminid Meteor showers are on the 13th.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

4 days to the Revels...

Join us Sunday Afternoon, 
November 18th, from 2-6 pm for
M.S. Rezny Studio/Gallery fosters an awareness and appreciation of the visual arts by representing and exhibiting contemporary, professional, experimental and innovative artists. Featured artists for 2013 include:
Rene M. Hales
Melissa T. Hall
Kathy Rees Johnson 
Marco Logsdon
Kathleen O'Brien
Mary Rezny
Michael Wayne
Laverne Zabielski
M S Rezny Studio/Gallery
903 Manchester Street, Lexington, KY 40508             859 252 4647

Monday, November 5, 2012

Open Studio experience was exceptional for all!

This past weekend's Open Studio was wonderful. Instead of being tired, I have a smile on my face thinking back to all the special people who came through our door to see the art. And many rejoiced in the grounds on the fine sunny Sunday doing somersaults on the lawn or running up hills with all the neighborhood corgis following. The food enhanced the experience. One visitor said, "this exceeds all my expectations" and it certainly exceeded mine. Much art went to good homes, which is the ultimate joy for me. So I made a short video of the interior, for those of you who could not come, and as a memory keeper for those who were  here. We are excited to see you again next time. Till then, keep in touch...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Art at UK HealthCare Chandler Pavilion

At UK HealthCare Chandler Pavilion there is an interesting Photography exhibit by John Cohen. Last Friday we were entertained by the artist as he told stories and played his banjo and guitar. It was a nice surprise to see friends Caroline and Sylvia and show them my Garden of Healing, Garden of Hope, located on the first floor by the Kentucky Wall. If you have not been there, the new pavillion has an outstanding art collection. 
© Greg Orth, Caroline, Kathleen, Sylvia with Garden of Healing, Garden of Hope, K. O'Brien

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Watch Video of Baking in the Bread Oven

Last weekend's weather was superlative for firing up the bread oven. It is an all day procedure, so we need to make sure we will have the success to provide refreshments for the Open Studio in just a few days now. In the kitchen there is much preparation and lots of washing dishes. Outside, the fire is tended for about 4 hours until the masonry is 600 degrees.

Pizza and bread are baked at the highest temperatures, then many other foods are cooked as the temperature lowers after the breads are done. The next day when it registers at 100 degrees we make yogurt.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Surprise Gifts for the Correct Answers

Everything is getting reorganized. Everything is within reach, yet it also has an inspiring appearance to my specs. After finishing many new artworks, it is a relief to put everything away until the next onslaught of ideas that brim over. + having your studio open and scrutinized is a great excuse to clean up.
©Kathleen O'Brien, Studio Corner
So here is a challenge: answer a question about the photo correctly to receive a surprise gift. The first person to answer each question gets one, 1 to a customer. (zoom in) Bring your answer to the Open Studio. Look closely because I will remove some things.
  1. Which box do I keep mica in?
  2. Who is the reigning artist on view?
  3. How many animals do you see?
  4. What series is that collage from?
  5. Which State bird is there?
  6. How many triangles/pyramids are there?
  7. What is that blue semi-circular thing?
  8. What is in the longish black box, and what's on top of it?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Series of Series Preview Of Open Studio pt 5

The background on this series of 4 is almost entirely script and other secret messages. Unfortunately for house plants, I don't have a green indoor thumb, these leaves are all that are left of my little trees.
©Kathleen O'Brien, Olive Grove for Peace 1, watercolor, pencil, Olive leaves, stamp

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Series of Series Preview Of Open Studio pt 4

This series of 12 features tree leafs and a certain word...
©Kathleen O'Brien, Light of Autumn 5, watercolor, pencil, leaf, word

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Series of Series Preview Of Open Studio pt 3

More places, more maps, bring your imagination to the Open Studio. 
©Kathleen O'Brien, There Are Places I'll Remember All My Life, Giza, watercolor, pencil, petals, glue
4 in this series - I LOVE this one...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Series of Series Preview Of Open Studio pt 2

The wanderlust has caught hold of me. 
Traveling into my birds eye world, then charting it is a close second to being there.
©Kathleen O'Brien, By the Beautiful Sea, Greece, watercolor, pencil, stamp, mica, petals
4 in this series, come and see, it is hard to see the subtlety of pencil online...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Series of Series Preview Of Open Studio

Starlings have been the subject of many artworks ever since I have been here, where they visit and vanish. Their murmurations stop me in my tracks, whatever I am doing, humbled. I attempt to feel their murmurations so they can be expressed as energetically as I experience them. If only humans could figure out how to murmurate, think of the harmony that would be.
©Kathleen O'Brien, Murmeration of the Darling Starlings, watercolor, pencil, glue
4 in this series, come see the others and read the fine print...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Preview of Grounds for Open Studio Part 3

Greg Orth will be here to show his wood fired masonry Bread Oven. He recently published his book through Amazon.comMy Experience Using "The Bread Builders" Book, or How I Made a Masonry Wood Fired Oven [Kindle Edition]. We'll have some food prepared from it on hand for you.
©K. O'Brien, Greg's Bread Oven
In the niche next to the oven door is a homage to the Goddess of the Furnace, Fornax. Greg cleverly made the handle from a plaster tool. Ever the problem solver. This is a good view of the opening where he scrapes the ashes into.
© K. O'Brien, Fornax, clay, metal, glass
This is one of his gargoyles on the back of the oven.
©K. O'Brien, gargoyle 
Here Greg is building the oven...
©K. O'Brien, building the oven

Friday, October 19, 2012

Studio Tour of Fox Hutt's Weaving

As you may know, Fox Hutt is one of 7 this year on the Art Trial 2012. She is presenting her weavings in her beautiful custom studio. For food for the body she is serving her super- nutritious food, home grown biodynamically. Her story about this weaving is inspiring.
©Fox Hutt, Nags Head Dawn, 25" x 22"
She says, "I received channeled information that a trip to the ocean would help shake up my creativity, so several years ago I drove by myself to Nags Head, NC, and stayed several days meditating, walking on the beach and taking photos. It was a wonderful experience, one I consider a turning point for me. I think acting on this channeled advice helped me with my faith, and my creativity."

Preview of Grounds, part 2

As you walk towards the south on Greg's nicely mowed paths you come to Honeysuckle Haven, a place where we have made rooms out of the honeysuckle. Greg has done extensive stone work here. It has become a sanctuary for so many birds depending on the season.
©K. O'Brien, stone benches
Walking back towards the north, you can see our house in the distance, and "Little Big Dog".

©K. O'Brien, path back to home
More tomorrow about the bread oven...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Surprise from the Archives

Janet Crymble spoke yesterday at Community Art Center, Danville KY. It was so inspiring to here about Ireland and her approach to installation art, and her reverence for the land that I decided one thing I would show from the archives is my piece from Artists in Support of the Peace Process project in Ennis, Ireland 1998.  And perhaps she can see it before returning to Ireland.
©Kathleen O'Brien, Well, oil on canvas, 16x20", 1996 of many oil paintings from the project...

A Preview of Open Studio Grounds

Yesterday I strolled around taking pictures so you could see some of the destinations on our grounds you might like to walk to or sit at. I will post more in the next couple of days...
©K. O'Brien, east porch
Most likely, you will begin from the east porch. Depending on the weather you may sit or gaze from all 4 sides of our glorious porch.
©K. O'Brien, east yard
Greg is proud of his standing stones seen (vaguely) in the middle. He created a stone bench just off to the right of the stone lantern. Everyone asks, what are those blocks in the distance. They are Cempo, the material Greg built our house with.
©K. O'Brien, Super Collider Conductor
As you arrive, on the bend of our driveway is a kinetic sculpture, Super Collider Conductor. It is a collaboration between Greg and I. If you stand within 5 feet it will transport you to another dimension.

Check tomorrow for more touring.

Monday, October 15, 2012

10.11.12, an exciting day

Last Thursday, October 11 was full of creativity. Greg's birthday celebration included a 2 day class with the Dry Stone Conservancy  learning to build stone fence with Scottish Master Stone Mason, Neil Rippingale. The class was conveniently located around the corner at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill. Greg has much experience with stone, now he has confidence to rebuild our Shaker fence remnants.
©Greg Orth, section of fence at Pleasant Hill
Later, the opening reception for Horizon; Contemporary Landscape exhibit at Community Arts Center had record crowds attending. Earlier in the day, the governor and many politicians in town for the VP debate were at the Center for meet and greet.
KO'B with 3 artworks in Horizon; Contemporary Landscape exhibit
Just a few blocks away people were gathering at Centre Collage for the VP debate. Later this lawn was full of spectators watching on the screen in the distance.
Hours away from the VP debate at Centre Collage

Sunday, October 14, 2012

New Cards at Open Studio

In addition to the greeting cards you are familiar with some new lines, birthday and invitations, will be premiered at the Open Studio Art sale November 3-4.
©Kathleen O'Brien, birthday card, C 189
©Kathleen O'Brien, invitation, N 03
You may also choose to personalize any of the cards, just ask!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

2 Maps for Open Studio & Art Trail

Here is a detailed map to Kathleen O'Brien Studio. Note our close proximity to Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill . It is a peaceful and beautiful place to stay overnight if you are traveling from afar (or near, for that matter).
Map to Kathleen O'Brien Studio

This year there are 6 other artisans on the Art Trail.  Mine and 3 others are open both days of the weekend, November 3-4. To the North, 3 studios are open Saturday only.
Art Trail 2012 Map

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Open Studio news

Guest artist Melanie VanHouten, Founder and Artistic Director of Josephine Sculpture Park, Frankfort, KY will be visiting in the studio on Saturday Nov. 3.  She will be exhibiting several sculptures from her solo exhibition Threshold.  Materials utilized range from reclaimed wooden doors to cast iron and stone.
Melanie VanHouten, Thrown Stones

Monday, October 8, 2012

4th Annual Open Studio Art Sale

On November 3 & 4, from 10 am—5 pm, please visit the studio for an artful autumn day.

We’re excited to share some of the same things you've enjoyed in the past years like food from the bread oven & some new things.

The open house is my largest event of the year, so you will be the first to see my latest artwork:
• series of Parrot & Lovebird collages on panels
©Kathleen O'Brien, Song for Orange Bellied Parrot

• a new line of “Nursery Friendly Art” 
©Kathleen O'Brien, Dawn Song

• series of collages based on the cave paintings of Chauvet
©Kathleen O'Brien, Light of the Earth, 10

• examples of Treasured Maps, plan yours
• new lines of birthday and invitation cards
• a surprise from the archives
• holiday special; order 10 cards of 1 design and choose 10 of another design free 

Stay tuned for more of what you will see and do!

This year there are 6 others on Art Trail 2012. 
Please "join" in the fun!
Also, I will post the maps here in a couple of days.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Remembering 11 Years Ago

© Kathleen O'Brien 2002, Lacrimosa

You might recall the “Rolling Requiem” project for the first anniversary of 9/11. Mozart’s Requiem mass, K. 626 was sung around the world for a 24-hour period by chorale groups in honor of those who died on September 11, 2001. When I found out about the project I decided to create collages all day while listening to the Requiem, Mozart’s last and in my opinion, most profoundly beautiful work. It was my way of participating in the event. Afterward I located by phone Madeline Johnson, the creator of the event. She had much good feedback from people around the world about art’s ability to heal. She was touched that she and the project had inspired my artwork. I sent the 8 collages to her, and they became a part of the Seattle Symphony collection. Below are more from the series, named for the movements from the Mass.
© Kathleen O'Brien 2002,  Lux Aeternum
© Kathleen O'Brien 2002,  Benedictus

© Kathleen O'Brien 2002, Requiem Aeternum

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Collaboration with Laverne Zabielski

Another really fun thing for the collaboration was creating the mobile from Laverne's beautiful dyed silk scraps.
©  O'Brien and Zabielski, Summer Fairies' Closet, mobile

Collaborative Exhibit
Gallery Hop
September 21, 2012

MS Rezny Gallery
903 Manchester St. 
Lexington, KY 40544
859 252 4647

Friday, August 31, 2012

Collaboration with Laverne Zabielski

It's been exciting to play with Laverne's gorgeous dyed silk and shibori wool scraps for our collaboration. I recommend any artist to experiment with materials they don't usually use. She invited me to the challenge for an exhibit at MS Rezny Gallery. See details about this below. We started with an abstract painting I did on Arches  paper. Because of travels and the distance between our homes, we sent the piece back and forth to each other by mail. This is the second stage after she sewed some of her fabric on.
© O'Brien and Zabielski
I added more painting and drawing and sent it back to her.
© O'Brien and Zabielski
Laverne then wrote on the collage. You will just have to come to the gallery to see the finished artwork.

Collaborative Exhibit
Gallery Hop
September 21, 2012

MS Rezny Gallery
903 Manchester St.
Lexington, KY 40544
859 252 4647

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Talk about Inspiration Inspires

The Lunch with the Arts talk about inspiration was well received by the group of about 30 people who came to the Community Art Center last Wednesday. I was touched when Paul Stansbury sent me a note saying he "was inspired by some things you said during the presentation  to write something." He kindly allowed me to share the short story he wrote. He really heard the underlying message I was giving.
© 1988 Kathleen O'Brien Long Path to Peace, oil triptych
photograph by Jerry Downs

© Paul Stansbury

A pale glow began to seep up from the black horizon. Untah worked in the dying glow of the fire to finish before the sun cleared its earthly shackles. He intoned a greeting to the Spirits as he poured the finely ground lapis lazuli into the shallow shell bowl before him. The dull azure powder formed a bright spiral in the oil as he carefully mixed the ingredients. Blue was the color of the sky. The spiral represented the never-ending cycle of life and a path to the Creator. Once mixed, he would dip his finger into the unguent , then recreate the spiral in the center of the painting on which he had labored through the night.

He had started the painting ritual the previous day as dusk rolled over the parched plain. Teheht and his wife, KaHe sat silently at a respectful, detached distance. They had called for him; but, like all who sought out his help, they were timid and suspicious. They had waited until hope was almost gone before summoning him. Dust whorled all about, provoked by the hot breezes that swept through the dying grasslands. The bleak summer of drought had devastated the crops and there would be little to sustain this family through the long winter to come. Sickness, driven by hunger, had spread through the land. It was only in these times that spirit painters were remembered. He knew if his painting failed, this family might not survive.

As the day's light drained away, Untah had unpacked his belongings under the watch of their sad eyes. Shell bowls were set out, ready to receive Untah's sacred ingredients. He opened worn, deerskin pouches to examine the powders he would use to mix the spirit paint. Each powder held its own significance. The yellow sun was represented by crushed sunflower petals. Ground lapis lazuli for the blue sky. Red for life-giving blood came from dogwood bark. The bright green of algae brought harmony and healing. White, from ground gypsum, insured peace and happiness. Regal purple extracted from hibiscus embodied mystery and magic. Finally, black, gleaned from the charred ashes of a thousand gathering fires, to paint the Telling Glyphs.

Untah mixed and remixed each in turn for his sacred painting, as he had since he became a spirit painter. Then, he set out the quills, brushes and bones he would use. He paused to chant a prayer over each.
Untah laid the fire from the wood Teheht and KaHe had gathered. He unwrapped a tattered blanket and withdrew a large bundle of moss. He spat on it and placed it on the fire. Billowing smoke welled up, swirling with the prairie dust in the evening's breath. As Untah was engulfed, he inhaled the thick vapor, its pungent, earthy odor burning his nostrils. He raised his head and blew the smoke out toward the heavens to carry his prayer upward. There, drifting forever among the stars, it would join with the smoke of the great gathering fire of the Spirits.

He knelt down, pouring thick, amber oil from a hollowed gourd onto his hands to prepare the delicate surface to receive his paint. Through the night, he methodically created his complicated tableau, adorning the surface with symbols to entice the Spirits. Without looking away from the painting, he knew Teheht and KaHe had studied his every move, striving to make sense of the symbols, hoping against hope he would prevail. They had remained silent and maintained a reverent distance, but Untah could hear KaHe's labored breath holding back sobs.

Now, he had reached the conclusion. The bright blue track spun outward in an ever widening arc. He chose a fine tipped bone, dipped it in the black paint, and, starting at the very center of the spiral, painted the Telling Glyphs along its ever expanding path. They revealed the story of all that had been. A large portion of the spiral remained unembellished, symbolizing what was yet to come. As the sun spilled over the horizon, he painted his last glyph, the eagle, to carry the Telling to the Spirits, so they might know what was and understand the story must not end now, there was more to be told. He took the bone stylus and placed it in the dying embers of the fire. Later, he would retrieve its ashes for his leather pouch.

Untah chanted his prayer of thanks and settled in to keep vigil over his painting. While the sun arched slowly across the sky, he remained silent and still, eyes ever watchful for a sign. While he waited, he thought of Oolmawa, his wife, and Chenat, his son. They too kept their vigil, waiting for him to return from his journey. He missed them, longing to enjoy the comfort of his wife, and dance with his son around the fire. But it would be many days before he would rest his head in his own dwelling. After his work here was done, he would make his spirit walk to the four sacred mountains. Climbing to the high plateau that stretched out as far as the eye could see, he would add his Tell to the never ending spiral. Only then could he return to his family.

As evening descended, something in the painting caught his attention. He drew his face close to the symbols, searching for the sign. Beads of sweat welled up through the paint on the child's brow. She stirred and opened her eyes. Untah smiled. The Spirits had been pleased by his painting. He knew this child would live.

The End

Thursday, August 16, 2012

25 years ago today

...a group of us were meditating in a circle under an Aspen tree. It was sunrise of the Harmonic Convergence. The high altitude of our location near the Continental Divide, the freshness of the pristine morning energized our focus - world wide peace. We could feel the connections to the thousands of people around the world meditating in sync. A Hummingbird entered the circle giving a close visit to each person as if we were flowers. I know because I was squinting, not wanting to frighten the bird away.
© Kathleen O'Brien Each Day in the Year of the Fire Dog # 200
Harmonic Convergence took place over a 2 day period. It was a grand time of celebration and sharing and caring. I had the honor of being in Jose Arguelles's study group Earth Ascending for several years before through the local branch of Planet Art Network.
© Kathleen O'Brien Each Day in the Year of the Fire Dog # 201
These are the only 2 of the postcards that go side to side. I took a drawing I did on that day in 1987, tore it in half and cropped the sides.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Lunch with the Arts 8

Le Ballet Ruse!
© 1981 Kathleen O'Brien
Karsavina as the Firebird, pastel, 12x9"

+ more
- one of the most
powerful art
of all time is

Monday, August 13, 2012

Advocate Messenger Article about Lunch with the Arts

Mariel Smith from the Community Arts Center wrote this article for yesterday's paper;
Lunch with the Arts to host Kentucky artist Kathleen O'Brien

Lunch with the Arts 7

Van Gogh, so beloved by so many people 
for his extraordinary transcendent vision, 
was my first inspiration in the painters category. 
At age 17 went on a pilgrimage throughout Holland 
to see his places, his paintings.
© 2012 Kathleen O'Brien, Van Gogh Shrine

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Lunch with the Arts 6

© 2007 Kathleen O'Brien
Dimensions 1

The grandest inspiration the Golden Mean. My architect brother taught me how to draw a Golden Rectangle from a square. And then after learning about the proportion of 1/.618034,  I stayed up until 2 a.m. figuring all the ratios and fractions up to 100. I was hooked. That was in the early 80's.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Lunch with the Arts 5

Wallace Black Elk
© 1984 Kathleen O'Brien
graphite drawing

Grandfather Wallace Black Elk shared his Earth wisdom with us around the campfire waiting for the Stone People Lodge to begin. You can hear some of his stories in his book Black Elk, the Sacred Ways of a Lakota, by Wallace Black Elk and William S. Lyon. Ho Mitakuye Oyasin, we are all related.

I am eternally grateful for his inspiration. It is an integrated daily guidance.  And I am profoundly in awe of his integrity and courage he showed on behalf of all Earth people.